Dutch Republic 1650-1672 England 18th century
Foreign Policy
V.O.C. 1602-1798 W.I.C. 1621-1798

The First Anglo-Dutch War 1652-1654

A.) The Diplomatic Pre-History

In Oct. 1651 England passed the Navigation Act, requiring that goods imported to England could only be transported on either English ships or on ships of the country of origin - an act directly formulated and directed against Dutch trade (the Dutch at that time enjoyed a huge trade surplus).

B.) The Military Course of Events

When a British fleet harrassed a Dutch merchant convoy (May 1652), Dutch Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp was ordered to attack the English fleet on July 6th. In August 1652 M.A. de Ruyter defeated the English in the Battle of Duins; in October the Dutch fleet suffered a defeat by the English at Kentish Knock; in Feb. 1653 Tromp lost the Three Days' Battle; on March 14th 1653 Johan van Galen defeated an English fleet at Livorno (Tuscany, Italy). In Aug. Tromp fell when attempting to break the English blockade. With the regents in charge in the Dutch Republic, and the moderates in England, on April 15th 1654 the Peace of Westminster was signed ending the war.

C.) Analysis

The English had Ships-of-the-line, vessels which, because of their size and layout, were designed for naval warfare. The Dutch, for the larger part, depended on merchant vessels which had been converted to warships.
The English, under commanders Robert Blake and George Monck, applied new naval strategies, such as fighting in-line-of-battle.

D.) Legacy

The Dutch Republic, the world's leading merchant marine nation, regarded the war a defeat, as they did not succeed in getting the Navigation Act repealed. The Dutch trade surplus would provide the cause for future wars, the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667, 1672-1674).

The First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-4), from British Civil Wars and Commonwealth
The First Anglo-Dutch War, from The Kentish Knock
The Contemplator's Short History of the Anglo-Dutch Wars, from Contemplator
First Anglo-Dutch War, from British Forces.com De eerste Engelse Oorlog 1652-1654, from Stichting Michiel Adriaanszoen de Ruyter, in Dutch
De eerste Engelse Oorlog 1653-1654, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, encyclopedic, in Dutch
Biography of Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, from Isle of Tortuga
Oorlogsvaart in de Gouden Eeuw, from Kees Mooyer (in Dutch)
Anglo-Dutch Wars, from Five Major Eras in the Netherlands' History
Dutch Wars : War of 1652-1654, from infoplease
Second Battle of Dover, Sept. 28th 1652, from Dictionary of Battles
REFERENCE H.P.H. Jansen, Kalendarium. Geschiedenis van de Lage Landen in Jaartallen. (Calendarium. History of the Low Countries by Years), Utrecht 1979

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on May 16th 2006

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